Autumn has fully arrived: the cool temperatures, colorful leaves, and even the first frost. The plants are slowing in their production of food and I feel myself slowing as well. At the farm, the first frost means a forced final harvest for many of the “summer” crops: squash, beans, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, and husk cherries. All of these fruiting plants die when their leaves first freeze, so their fruits must all be harvested one final time.
Then, the work shifts to the tubers. The potato and sweet potato foliage is also frost-tender, so our next task is pulling these sweet gems from the earth and letting them dry and cure in the sun for a while so that they can be stored for winter enjoyment. This year we had the gift of help from the hardworking students at Sweetland School, who arrived for their weekly hour and a half of farm education the day after the first frost. In that short amount of time, the cheerful group took care of all of the above harvesting including this week’s portion of the potatoes!
Once this scramble has passed, the number of remaining crops left to care for has decreased by about half. I’m grateful for the feeling of abundance that having crates full of vegetables on the stand brings. There is still plenty of work to be done, from continuing harvests to cleanup tasks, but the sense of urgency and the pace of it all has notably slowed. I find myself taking more time to reflect back over the season and all its ups and downs. A cup of hot tea made from our own milky oat tops and other herbs from my garden give a sense of the fullness that comes from a season of hard work and good food. I hope that you, too, can welcome the slowing of autumn after a full and beautiful summer. We are grateful for each of you and your presence in our community this season!